Phoenix Equity Partners
Phoenix Equity Partners is a private equity firm headquartered in London. Their focus on innovation, and their willingness to leverage technology has helped them to stay ahead of the curve. So, it wasn’t a surprise to hear from them right at the beginning of lockdown, with a request for a complete state-of-the-art audio and visual conferencing system. However, our reply – that they should take a simpler approach and spend less money – rather took them aback, until we explained our reasoning.
Phoenix Equity Partners became a client in 2016, after Partner and CFO, Steve Darrington, attended one of our technology presentations at ‘the Gherkin’.
Steve’s own expertise in technology is deep and wide-ranging and it took several conversations with our Founder and CEO, Terry Doherty, before he decided to move Phoenix’s business from the incumbent of 14 years to Doherty Associates – before migrating the company’s IT systems to Microsoft Cloud.
The best relationships are built on trust
At first, the team members at Phoenix were naturally cautious, but over the years we have built an excellent relationship with them and by the time that call on getting COVID-ready came in, they were already confident in our ability to help them work more effectively.
Phoenix’s reaction to lockdown was to move quickly and decisively; vital when executing deals in the private equity sector.
Their first thought was to make their meeting rooms fully operational in a COVID environment. But to implement the ‘state-of-the-art’ systems they had in mind would require a significant investment of around £40k – £60k, something that Steve (with his CFO hat on) was shocked by. So Terry advised that given the rapidly advancing nature of this technology (e.g. Microsoft Teams has gone from 10 to 72 features in a single year) a more circumspect approach might not just deliver a more cost-effective solution but also be a wiser choice.
Terry’s expertise meant that he could pull together a range of technologies to create a bespoke user-friendly solution that would deliver something similar for around £6k to £8k. This would give Phoenix an answer to their immediate needs and the opportunity to make a fuller assessment once the pandemic and its implications were better understood.
Steve responded that he didn’t know if Terry was a fantastic businessman looking after his client, or a terrible one, for turning away money. But he did know he could trust Doherty Associates to get on and do the right thing – so to please go ahead.
Honesty pays dividends
Shortly after work began, Steve called Terry again and said there were two other private equity firms who now wanted his name and contact details.
Steve had told this story at a round table meeting of the BVCA (British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association) and naturally ears had pricked up. Both of those interested parties then came on board, which is a fantastic example of why our honest and open approach to doing business, is good business.
‘Apart from our people, technology is the most critical component of our business. In 2016, I trusted Terry and his team to manage and develop this fundamental resource. Five years later, I look like a genius.’
Partner and Chief Financial Officer
Phoenix Equity Partners
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